You are a rare breed.
These fields are composed of winding, narrow roads
emcompassed with majestic mountains and steep valleys.
Along the journey, there are briars and thorns that will
prick hearts and may cause bleeding. But just beyond the
rubble there are open pastures filled with the fragrance of
spring and the sun shining in all its strength. The stories
are redemptive. The stories are restorative. Filled with joy
and laughter, but, also, filled with brokeness and heartache.
Sometimes in the midst of the thorns, there becomes an
inclination to become tunnel visioned. So focused on one
child, one story, one’s own schedule that the other children
out there are forgotten. The long roads can sometimes become
a lullaby that cause you to forget why you are doing what you
are doing. It’s time to remember. Hundreds of children are
needing what you can give them. See their faces.
Know their names. Hear their stories. Your yes or no to
placement calls matter. It matters to each child. Across the
pages of their life, their whole story can be rewritten with joy, hope, and love.
Dynamics were never the priority or the cause in these fields. It is irrelevant to the purpose and plight of the children in the system. You are not reproducing your own family. These children are from dysfunctional homes and upbringings. A child’s history is written with the hands of abuse and neglect- the hands that were suppose to love and nurture them. Watch your perceptions and expectations. These fields are filled with broken, hurting children who will behave as such- it is all they know. Many children are in survival mode and live on fight or flight instincts. It’s in the moments when they scream at you, withdraw, get angry, and misbehave that they need you most. This is foster care. Knowledge is key. Understand the impact of neglect and the different types of abuse on a child of different ages. Understand the biology of trauma and how it effects the brain. Foster parenting sometimes requires parenting techniques different than the ones used with biological children. Brain chemistry and size is different than with children who have not suffered abuse and neglect. Utilize those around you. There will be times you will not be able to keep your head above water without utilizing help from friends and family. If you don’t, you may suffocate and possibly quit or become narrow in your placement decisions. The journey was never meant for one person but for a pack. As you look around yourself, you should see many footprints and fingerprints. The skills and the strenghts you lack, those around you will be able to pick up. This is foster care. The blossoming flowers outnumber the thorns. Don’t miss the rose for the thorns.
*”Roses are the most popular flower in the world, and are highly valued and admired for their beauty and significance. Roses come in an array of colors which can express heartfelt feelings of love, admiration, sadness and other emotions. Unfortunately, roses have thorns that grow out of their stems as protection against predators, but they make it difficult to handle them at times.” – Ruth Kongaika